Hytera Communications formally launches new DMR product portfolio
Hytera Communications this week announced a revamped DMR product portfolio of new hardware and software that is known as the i-Series that is designed to provide new functionality, broaden the choice of intrinsically safe radios and address patent issues cited in a recent ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
Steve Cragg, Hytera America’s vice president of sales, said that the “i” in the i-Series moniker stands for “innovation” and this week’s launch is the culmination of a company initiative that was announced originally in June and referenced in multiple legal filings.
Cragg said that the timing of the broad product launch was tied to last Friday’s ITC ruling, which ruled that Hytera would be prohibited from selling DMR products that infringe on three Motorola Solutions patents. Hytera customers can alleviate any ITC concerns receiving a free software update to the i-Series platform on their existing products, he said.
“This is the global release of these new features,” Cragg said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “They’ve been released in most other countries around the world. In the U.S., the reason we held off was that we were waiting for the ITC to give us full clearance for this range of products.”
All DMR products currently sold by Hytera will have i-Series software, Cragg said.
“We no longer sell our legacy products,” he said. “As of [Monday], we only sell the i-Series products.”
Hytera’s i-Series products are all “100% compatible” with the company’s legacy products, according to company information provided to IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
New i-Series software features include over-the-air programming (OTAP), enhanced Quick GPS and Hytera’s Fusion System, which supports trunked/non-trunked operation, according to a Hytera press release. Another key feature is optimized PTT, which is designed to remove any concern that audio will be lost because a push-to-talk user begins speaking before the call-setup process is completed, Cragg said.
“That [call setup] takes less than a second, but—if people start talking as soon as they push the push-to-talk [button]—some audio is lost,” Cragg said. “With optimized PTT, we buffer that audio, so people can push the push-to-talk [button] and start talking immediately. When the call is set up, then you would hear the buffered audio start getting sent. When they release the push-to-talk [button], the transmission continues until all of the audio is sent.
“We find that to be particularly desirable for people who are upgrading from analog systems to digital system. Typically, in the analog systems, there is not that call-setup time. It’s a real boon for people that are upgrading from analog systems to digital that they don’t lose any audio.”
From a hardware perspective, Hytera has increased its portfolio of intrinsically safe radios with the i-Series, according to Cragg.
“I’m pretty sure that we have the widest range of intrinsically safe products,” Cragg said. “Previously, we’ve only had intrinsically safe products in our PD7-series products. We now have our PD5 i-Series, 6 i-Series, 7 i-Series, 9 i-Series, and the X1P i-Series. That’s 14 intrinsically safe products we have now.
“[Hytera is] significantly expanding the range of intrinsically safe products. A lot of customers like our intrinsically safe products, but they would like to buy some of our lower-tier products as intrinsically safe, for cost and use reasons. We’re allowing them to do that, so it is a lot more accessible for some of those customers.”
In addition, Hytera’s i-Series include a mobile radio that supports full-duplex communications, which can be especially helpful if the radio effectively is needed to operate as a repeater or when a user does not have the luxury of using a push-to-talk button to communicate, Cragg said.
“When you talk to a crane operator, you want the crane operator to be able to [have voice communications] hands-free, and you don’t want to miss any syllables or words,” Cragg said. “You want full-duplex communications, so you can give crane directions to the crane driver.”